From the top of the hill the vista that lays before you is of brown rolling hills from the left and the right. Straight ahead in the distance are the majestic mountains named St Helen’s, Adam and Rainier. The center piece is a valley with a river that runs through the middle. Thanks to the invention of irrigation it is a lush green, and an agricultural wonder.
This is the land of my childhood. It is the ancestral home of the Yakimas and later many other tribes. With the advent of irrigation came farmers from the Midwest, the South, and as far away as Holland and Germany. Finally to this fertile land came those of Latino and Hispanic descent. Many of these last arrivers did not stay year around. They came for harvest and then would return to the places they knew as home. In time, however, more and more began to stay and, like those before them, became a part of the larger community.
I feel immensely blessed to have grown up in this world. That is in part for the deep appreciation and stewardship of God’s abundant creation that I learned early in life. It is as much, however, for living in a multi-cultural world filled with incredible history and tradition.
This week Staci and I will be at the House of Bishops meeting in Phoenix. Much of our time as bishops will be spent learning and dialoguing about one of the most significant issues of our times: immigration. There are very few places if any, that aren’t impacted by immigration. As people of faith and as people called to engage God’s mission in our culture and context, I believe it is critical for us to be a part of this very challenging issue taking place not only in our country but in our own neighborhoods. Let us welcome the dialogue and hold it in our prayers.